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Alpine Sun Tower and eSolar to Build 92 mWatts of Solar Thermal

Alpine Sun Tower and eSolar to Build 92 mWatts of Solar Thermal


Pacific Gas and Electric Company announced recently that it has entered into an agreement with Alpine SunTower, LLC, a subsidiary of NRG Energy Inc.  for 92 megawatts (MW) of renewable, solar thermal power.

The Alpine SunTower project features eSolar’s modular, scalable solar thermal technology and is scheduled for completion in 2012. The project will be located near Lancaster, Calif. and will produce approximately 192 gigawatt-hours of electricity each year. This is equal to the annual consumption of nearly 30,000 average homes.

Fong Wan, Senior Vice President of Energy Procurement for PG&E.

PG&E is collaborating with NRG and eSolar to serve our customers’ future energy needs and respond to their demand for renewable resources. The combination of NRG’s proven development skills and eSolar’s innovative technology can provide our customers with clean, affordable energy.

The project announced today is part of eSolar and NRG’s recently announced plans to develop up to 500 MW of solar thermal power in California and across the Southwestern United States.

David Crane, NRG’s president and chief executive officer had this to say;

Alpine Sun Tower and eSolar to Build 92 mWatts of Solar Thermal


NRG is very pleased to be working hand-in-hand with PG&E, a utility at the forefront of bringing green solutions to the electricity sector, to deploy at scale eSolar’s exciting new solar technology. As we enter the hot summer months, we are reminded that solar power has a key role to play in helping meet peak demand in California.

Solar thermal power generates electricity by converting solar energy to heat, which boils water to create steam that turns a turbine. The spinning turbine then generates electricity like a traditional steam plant but without burning fuel or causing emissions, such as greenhouse gases.eSolar’s concentrating solar power projects feature a proprietary combination of optics and software in a pre-fabricated form factor for cost-effective scalability. Its scalable plants will be built in 46 MW unit solutions, each of which requires one quarter square mile of land.

Bill Gross, CEO of eSolar commented;

With the only operating solar power tower technology in the U.S., this new agreement with world-class utility PG&E points to the success of NRG and eSolar to develop solar thermal generation. eSolar’s power towers can be designed in variable configurations and are easily scalable to meet the growing and evolving needs of forward-looking power providers like PG&E.

Since 2002, PG&E has entered into contracts for more than 20 percent of its future electric power deliveries from renewable sources. On average, half of the electricity PG&E delivers to its customers comes from carbon-free generating sources, making the company’s energy some of the cleanest consumed by any electric utility customers in the nation.

About Pacific Gas and Electric Company

Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation (NYSE: PCG), is one of the largest combined natural gas and electric utilities in the United States. Based in San Francisco, with 20,000 employees, the company delivers some of the nation’s cleanest energy to 15 million people in northern and central California. For more information, visit

About eSolar

eSolar is an Idealab company founded in 2007 to develop, construct and deploy modular, scalable solar thermal power plants. eSolar’s approach marries a low-impact, pre-fabricated form factor with advanced optics and computer software engineering to meet the demands of utilities of any size for clean, renewable and cost-competitive solar energy. By focusing on the key business obstacles that have characterized large solar installations — price, scalability, speed of deployment and grid impact — eSolar has developed a proprietary solution to make a dramatic reduction in the cost of solar thermal technology. eSolar is based in Pasadena, California. For more information please visit

About NRG

NRG Energy, Inc., a Fortune 500 company, owns and operates one of the country’s largest and most diverse power generation portfolios. Headquartered in Princeton, NJ, the Company’s power plants provide more than 24,000 megawatts of generation capacity, enough to supply more than 20 million homes. NRG’s retail business, Reliant Energy, serves more than 1.7 million residential, business, commercial and industrial customers in Texas. A past recipient of the energy industry’s highest honors — Platts Industry Leadership and Energy Company of the Year awards, NRG is a member of the U.S. Climate Action Partnership (USCAP), a group of business and environmental organizations calling for mandatory legislation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. More information is available at

ST Staff Writers
ST Staff Writers
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